Europe Greenlights UK Digital TV Switchover

04 July 2006

Britons' widespread enthusiasm for digital TV, fuelled by the Freeview terrestrial platform (co-owned by the nation's main broadcasters the BBC, BSkyB, National Grid Wireless, ITV and Channel 4), last week set the seal on international approval for plans to complete the switch from analogue to digital TV by 2012.

British media regulator Ofcom announced Monday that other major European nations, conferring at the International Telecommunication Union's Regional Radiocommunications Conference in Geneva, had approved the UK system that drives Freeview's national penetration - reportedly 98.5% of UK homes, the same coverage currently available to analogue viewers

International agreement was also secured for the ongoing expansion of digital radio for which predicted receiver sales will have reached 13 million by 2008. Also by that date, digital audio broadcasts will be receivable in 29% of British homes.

Says Ofcom ceo Stephen Carter: "[The ITU decision] accelerates the move to all-digital broadcasting. After months of detailed negotiations with more than 100 countries, this successful outcome is testament to the hard work and dedication of the UK delegation."

Data sourced from Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff